An excerpt from, current student, Sarah Bennet’s blog: Cherish the Moment (Oral Roberts University, Oklahoma)
Your hair brushes your cheek as you stare out over a canyon looking down on the treasury at Petra. The night sky illuminates the canyon as your feet hang over the side. Stars smile down from above as the moon seems to dance to the musical melody filling the air. Below hundreds of candles flicker on the desert floor.
You jump into the warm water and lunge your arms forward. You float right to the surface laying on your back you stare at the crystal blue sky above. Barely a cloud lingers in sight. The waves rock you back and forth like a hammock. You feel the salt burning the cuts in your leg, but the pain is part of the experience. You roll over and swim further out, letting the waves whisk you away. Suddenly, a wave crashes into your face. The salt burns your eyes, sucking out the moisture. The pain is real, but the moment just makes you laugh. You cry the salt out and continue to let the waves take you away.
You hike up a canyon full of water fighting upstream to journey up to a beautiful waterfall. The sound of shebab (young Arab men) fills your ears as they sing at the top of their lungs while you continue to venture through the canyon. Your feet splash water in front of you with each step. Upon reaching the waterfall you sit directly under it and let the sound of rushing water soothe your soul. You can not resist the urge to go behind the waterfall, so you climb a few rocks and go behind it. At the end of the day, you float down the canyon on your back as the water carries you wherever it pleases.
You study in the Amman Citadel in ancient Roman ruins overlooking East Amman. You find a spot with enough shade to shield you from the sun, unpacking your water bottle and some snacks, you pull out a book and begin to read. Literally, the best study spot in the world to be reading history.
You are at a Circassian family party under the cool night sky. You just had your fill of delicious foods, coffee, and dessert. Just when you think the party is over, dancing breaks out. The men strut around the dance floor with some impressive foot work as the women seem to gracefully float around them, flowing to the rhythm of the music.
All these are just a few of the many memories I have made in Jordan so far. I have been living in Amman for a couple months now studying and exploring. I am absolutely falling in love with this area and the people. The Middle East continues to steal my heart. I can not believe the goodness of the Lord that I have the opportunity, after being in the Middle East this summer, to be here a whole semester. I really pray the Lord opens another door in the future for my to come back and work here for some time. I know a lot of family and friends were nervous about my studying in Jordan, but honestly this has been a highlight of my time in college. I would recommend for everyone who could to study abroad. I wish you all could come experience Jordan and break some stereotypes that the media and the West has placed on the Middle East and Muslims. I have experienced so much genuine hospitality since being here. Taken there are a lot of differences, but this is an easy place to adapt to. I truly believe in searching out the beauty and truth for myself first hand. I know there is a lot going on in the Middle East, but I believe that God wants to continue to release streams of life and healing even in desert places. Coming to Jordan I see this beauty through the people in Jordan and the students I am living in community with.